Ray was born and raised with 10 siblings in Ogdensburg, N.J. He lived there through high school, until joining the Army. Ray focused on baseball, playing in Little League and the Babe Ruth League.
Growing up for Ray was quite different from life today. His family never owned a car. His father never drove, and his mother was too busy raising the children. After baseball and football practice, he’d hitchhike or walk four miles home. As a teenager, he hitchhiked everywhere, especially to caddy at Lake Mohawk Country Club, about eight miles away.
Ray’s father was a miner who migrated from Valparaiso, Chile, working in the Ogdensburg zinc mine from the age of 19 until retiring at 75 years old. Ray’s mother died in her early 60s, but his father lived to 105.
At 17, he enlisted and served in Korea with the 7th Infantry Division from 1958 to 1960. He returned to the U.S., completing his tour at Fort Devens, and discharged in 1961.
Ray attended courses for a fire science degree while working at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal. He went to work at the Arsenal as an apprentice tool and die maker. With a reduction in force, he was assigned to the Arsenal Fire Department as a firefighter and worked up to fire chief. He also worked as a volunteer firefighter in the town of Hamburg, N.J., as chief from 1974 to 1975.
Ray and his wife moved to Arizona in 1993, both taking transfers from Picatinny Arsenal to positions at Fort Huachuca, where he retired as assistant fire chief in 1995. Moving to Ocotillo, Ray began working at Ironwood, but couldn’t join IMGA. In 2010 they purchased a home in Oakwood. Still working at Ironwood, Ray found it difficult to join IMGA and play regularly. As of this April, he will have worked at Ironwood for 25 years and, with retirement, will join the IMGA ranks.
Ray enjoys working in his yard, going to the casino, dinner with Debra, listening to music (especially 50s), and relaxing in Arizona’s beautiful weather. He has a son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who live in New Jersey, and he especially enjoys spending time with them and his siblings whenever possible.
His father would say, “Drink a glass of Chilean wine a day.” Hard to argue with someone who lived to 105. Ray adds, “Make the most of every day, as everyone you meet has a battle you know nothing about—be kind to everyone.” Ray worked that way at Ironwood. A friend said, “Ray always helped the golfers. He’d say, “C’mon down—we’ll fit you in.”
Ray has had three holes-in-one: two at Ironwood #4 and one at Oakwood Lakes #2. In 2011 Ray’s golf cart mysteriously sank one day at Ironwood #15. An amusing and lighthearted investigation revealed that the brake was not set while retrieving his golf ball.
Thank you, Ray, for the years of service to Ironwood!